AdrinAdrina and Elliott Coon, co-founders of GEM&BOLT
The two founders of GEM&BOLT, ArinAdrina and Elliott Coon have redefined the mezcal game as recently as last year with the introduction of their damiana-infused spirit. Both artists, first and foremost, having created numerous art shows and installations, their brand distinctly speaks to their edgy aesthetic (just look to the visually graphic bottling for proof) and attracts the likes of consumers who want their mezcal anything but run-of-the-mill.
How did you come up with Gem&Bolt?
After years of collaboration, we formed an artist duo, calling ourselves GEM&BOLT. As an artist duo, we wanted to create a commercial venture—a culmination of our varied interests in art, plant knowledge, and wild expansive lifestyle choices and modalities. We had a GEM&BOLT speakeasy in Oakland, California, and had also created an artist residency in Tulum, Mexico, simultaneously. Mezcal appeared to us through these various channels, and we saw it was the perfect vehicle through which to promote a clean, celebratory lifestyle and also to communicate a larger vision around conscious celebration. We like to call it, artful evolution.
Tell me about damiana and why you use it?
Damiana is a flowering bush native to Mexico. Throughout history, the Aztec, Aaya, and Aapotec have used damiana for its mythological properties. It’s a super herb known for restoring health & vigor… and its value in the bedroom is also legendary. We call it a heart opener. There’s really no way I’ve found to describe it, but I believe the experience speaks for itself.
The liquor industry is still very male-dominated. How have you overcome that?
Yes, we are a predominantly female-run company, which is very unifying and exciting in this industry. We have built an incredible team of visionaries and industry experts that help us integrate our creative tendencies amidst the old guard. It’s a powerful combination. There are always creative solutions to any conundrum, and we thrive in the realm of creative challenge. Of course, in any industry, there are infinite hurdles and difficulties. We’ve approached the liquor industry with the same tenacity as we would anywhere else: head-on and with genuine, open-minded curiosity. As many people as have been resistant, there have been twice as many people eager to welcome new perspective and approaches.
What’s the cocktail you make to impress?
First trick when we’re hosting, we always make an extra-strong damiana tincture which we use as a bitter and to add a beautiful kick to almost any cocktail. We recently did a collaboration with Katoi restaurant of Detroit, just nominated for James Beard Best New restaurant of the Year award. It was the first time we did cocktails designed within the Asian flavor spectrum, and the combination was to-die-for. This cocktail, designed by in-house-mixologist Drew Pompa, was phenomenal, and we recommend it to impress:
- BIG BANG -1.5oz Gem&Bolt Mezcal1oz Coconut Milk Syrup.75oz Fresh Pineapple Juice.5oz Lemon Juice1/4 Thai Chil2 Diced Banana Hi-Chews
Add all contents to a tin shaker, add ice, shake, and double strain into a coupe. Garnish with a pineapple slice to make it prettier
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
Be patient, trust your intuition, and stand your ground. We’ve practiced these three from day one; it’s not always easy, but they have proven the most useful and timeless tools in the arsenal.